Profile America: First Car Ad

Sunday, July 29th. The nation’s love affair with automobiles is generations old. Our devotion can be traced down through the decades by looking at advertising —, as cars progressed from romantic, if noisy new playthings, to a near necessity in our vast country.

The first known national ad promoting a car appeared in late July 1898 in the Scientific American magazine. It was for the now forgotten Winton Motor Carriage with the headline “dispense with a horse.”

By 1906, 57 car companies spent over a half-million dollars advertising in 12 national magazines. Today, joining auto manufacturers in advertising the latest models are many of the country’s more than 21,400 new car dealers.

Profile America is in its 22nd year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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